MATCH REPORT: St Kilda vs Geelong | Round 1, AFL, 2024.

Alright fam, we’re back. It’s been a hot minute but Saints Footy has returned. And unfortunately, our accuracy in front of the sticks has also returned. But we’ll get into that. We came close and we hustled hard, there was a chance to pull off a miracle, but grandpa Danger, as he did all night, put out any hope of that, and we depart the Geelong retirement village without any chocolates.

Under no circumstance should we have won that game. We got absolutely pummeled in nearly every meaningful stat – inside 50’s, center clearances, intercepts – although we did win turnovers, posting a mighty 65 to Geelong’s 57. My year ten English teacher would always tell me that feedback should be like a sandwich – start positive, then mention any room for improvement, and finish positive. So, positivity is kind of like bread, in a way, and I used to be a baker so me and bread go way back.

Our debutants were special. Riley Bonner finished the game as our leading disposal getter, which is somewhat misleading because he took a majority of kick outs, but he was really solid. There were a couple errors off his boot that lead directly to Geelong goals, but with eighteen pressure acts and twelve rebound fifties you can’t fault him.

Darcy Wilson, lets go son. Two goals – one of which came at the death and put us only one point behind with a minute or two to go.  He kicked that goal because his endurance put him deep in the fifty without an opponent. We have landed a super special player here and it’s hard to see him not playing every game this season.

Liam Henry might well be the best picker-upper of the ball we’ve had on the list since forever. The man’s hands are like honey and too many times to count I was impressed with his ground ball collection in a contest. A few of his disposals were questionable, especially kicking it out on the full late in the game when he had other options, but he definitely provides some silk we’ve been lacking since the days of Nicky Dal.

I feel sorry for Lance Collard. I hope he’s not too hard on himself for him performance. He realistically should have had two sausage rolls but Max King burnt him so bad that Lance might be wrapped in bandages for the next few months. King burnt him so bad that there is still smoke coming off of Collard. I think we should see how Collard goes in a full game next week. Higgins out, Collard in?

Big Zaine made me very Cordy this game. He kept Hawkins goalless for 99% of the match until the death. And Jack Steele was very good without being instrumental.

And as for that room for improvement?

Jack Higgins is so untrustworthy with a set shot for goal. His inaccuracy has been well documented over the years and I feel like a broken record, but as long as it keeps happening, I’ll keep writing about it. Does it hit his shin? I dunno. I simply don’t know. Along with him, Mitch Owens is another that I struggle to trust when lining up. I know that he’s a gun, and our saviour, and all this and all that, but the man is not a great set shot.

Brad Crouch should not have played by the looks of it. He was underdone and did not contribute. Our midfield got slaughtered, and we might have won total clearances for the night, so I might sound like an idiot here, but how many times did Geelong have it inside fifty less than five seconds after the ball was bounced? We let Dangerfield run riot and had no proper match up for him. Why isn’t Windhager a tagger anymore?  Shove Windy onto Danger and put the clamps on.

It’s my belief that as a club, we have a really solid history of giving lesser-known players names. Dempsey kicked three first half goals and really should have had five by the end of the night. We can oftentimes make a good springboard for a career.

My biggest gripe of all has nothing to do with the football and everything to do with Melbourne Traffic management. If you were driving to the game from the north, you might not have made it. They completely blocked off the entire exit to Geelong on the Ring Road and the ‘detour’ took over an hour to get 2km down the road, so by the time you reach the end of the detour, you wouldn’t make it to the game. Thanks for that. AND of course, the umpiring. The Stocker incident? What about when Bonner fumbled it and the umps said it was a deliberate rush behind? One week in and we are being conspired against in so many ways.

For those Saints fans that did make it to the game – you were really loud and very supportive. It was incredible to see. We’re usually the ones being drowned out by the away team, but for lots of the game, it was us doing it to Geelong.

Best part about the whole game though? Tim Membrey. Daddy is back. What an absolute legend. He started our season off with the first goal and then kicked another two and just provided a presence the whole night. We love him and we are a 100x better side when he is in it.

TLDR; Higgins can’t kick, Crouch shouldn’t have played, King way too hungry but still good. Wilson, Bonner & Henry very good, Steele good, Membrey looking sexy as.


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